LEGAL HELP

Action for Children in Conflict has a program, the Kenya Children’s Legal Aid Work (KCLAW), that seeks to promote access to justice, strengthen the rule of law, promote human rights and significantly reduce all forms of violence in the society.

Domestic Violence

Information about Domestic Violence to get you started

Domestic violence means violence against a person, or threat of violence or of threat imminent danger to that person, by any other person with whom that person is, or has been, in a domestic relationship.

Click through the topics listed below to find answers to your questions.

The law recognizes the following to be in a domestic relationship:

  • Married Couples.
  • People who were previously married to each other.
  • People living within the same household.
  • Marriage that has been dissolved or nullified.
  • Family members.
  • Engaged couples.
  • People with a child together.
  • People with close personal relationship.

The following actions are categorized as domestic violence in Kenya:

  • Abuse (child marriage, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, forced wife inheritance, interference from in-laws, sexual violence within marriage, virginity testing, widow cleansing, depriving access to or a reasonable share of the facilities associated with the place of residence).
  • Damage to Property.
  • Economic abuse.
  • Emotional and psychological abuse
  • Harrasment.
  • Incest.
  • Intimidation.
  • Physical abuse.
  • Sexual abuse.
  • Stalking.
  • Verbal abuse.
  • Physical abuse.

It is still domestic abuse if…

  • The incidents of physical abuse seem minor when compared to those you have read about, seen on television, or heard other people talk about. There isn’t a “better” or “worse” form of physical abuse; severe injuries can result from being pushed, for example.
  • The incidents of physical abuse have only occurred one or two times in the relationship. Studies indicate that if your spouse/partner has injured you once, it is likely that the person will continue to physically assault you.
  • The physical assaults stopped when you became passive and gave up your right to express yourself as you desire, to move about freely and see others, and to make decisions. It is not a victory if you have to give up your rights as a person and a partner in exchange for ending the assault!
  • Physical violence has not ocurred. Many people are emotionally and verbally assaulted. This can be just as frightening and is often more confusing to try to understand.

Source: Breaking the Silence Handbook 

A victim of domestic violence or any person( who reasonably suspects that an offence of domestic violence is being or has been committed, may report to the police officers or any other person in authority.)

When you go to the police, they should inform you of all the options you have to protect yourself against an abusive person. These options include access to shelter and medical assistance. They should also tell you how to get protection and how to lodge a criminal complaint against the perpetrator.

Victims of abuse can apply to the court for a protection orderagainst the perpetrator. A child may make the application through a parent or guardian; a children officer; the director of children’s services; a police officer; a probation officer; a social welfare officer; a person acting on behalf of a religious institution or an NGO concerned with the welfare of domestic violence victims; a relative; or a neighbour. The court will grant the order if it is satisfied that there was abuse and the order is necessary for the protection of the victim. If the abuser disobeys the court order he or she may be arrested with or without a warrant. In making the arrest, a police officer will consider the safety of the victim, the seriousness of the abuser’s breach, and the time that has passed since the abuser committed the breach. Aside from getting a protection order, a victim has the right to lodge a criminal case against the abuser. He or she can also claim compensation for any loss or injury caused by the domestic violence.

You don’t have to be represented by a lawyer. However, preparing and presenting your own case can be complicated, especially if the court is being asked to remove your child from your care. You can get help. Parents and children (who are mature enough) have separate lawyers. A lawyer can give you advice about your choices, and speak for you. What you tell your lawyer is confidential. At AfCiC through our KCLAW progrem we provide legal hel, so feel free to contact us.

Before the hearing date, contact the court to see what time you need to be there. It’s best to get there about half an hour before the court sessions start. Usually the first court hearing starts at 8am. If you need an interpreter contact the Children’s Court you are attending to let them know before your court date. The court will pay for the interpreter. Only qualified interpreters can work at court.

At court, the registrar sorts out the order of the hearings on the day. Your case may not be heard straight away, therefore plan to be there for the whole day and do not go too far away for you will need to be able to hear your name/case number being called when the court is ready for you.

Going into the courtroom when your name is called. The court will wait until everyone has entered, and will then ask what stage your case is up to.You or your lawyer or the prosectution will briefly explain what you are asking for and tell the court if the case can go ahead. The court may give everyone time to talk, or may set aside time to listen to each side before making a decision. If you have a lawyer, your lawyer will speak for you. Sometimes you may go into and out of court several times on one day. You may have to come back on another day, as courts often do not make a final decision on the first day you go to court.

court’s decision The court can make different court orders, depending on the case and what stage it is at.

 

  • If the case is not decided If the case has only just started, or there is no agreement about what should happen, the court may:
    • Put the case off, for another hearing date make a temporary protection order.
  • If the court decides that there is enough information to make a final decision, they may:
      • Dismiss the case.
      • Make final orders about the protection of the victim, including:
        • An undertaking (a legally binding promise made to the court to something or not to do something).
        • Protection order, an order used by a court to protect a person, business, company, establishment, or entity, and the general public, in a situation involving alleged domestic violence, assault, harassment, stalking, or sexual assault.

    For more information about the see the following

    PROTECTION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Act of 2015

 

 

Glossary

Virginity testing: This is the practice and process of determining whether a person, usually a female, is a virgin; i.e., to determine that she has never engaged in, or been subjected to, sexual intercourse.

Widow cleansing: A tradition to be cleansed to chase away demons involves having sex. It is often forced upon the woman by the deceased husband’s family.

Economic abuse: A form of abuse when one intimate partner has control over the other partner’s access to economic resources, which diminishes the victim’s capacity to support themselves and forces them to depend on the perpetrator financially.

Emotional and psychological abuse: A form of abuse, characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another person to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder

Stalking: Unwanted and/or repeated surveillance, following or harassinh in an agressive manner often threateningly by an individual or group towards another person.

 DISCLAIMER this  is meant to be for information resource only. None of the material on this site is expressly or impliedly meant to provide legal advice to you. Since the material on this site is provided as information only, and laws continuously change from time to time, the author of this website neither expressly nor impliedly warrants that any of the material provided on this website is accurate. If you are in need of a solution to a legal problem, the author advises that you should contact a advocate for legal advice.feel free to contact us for more help.

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Tel: +254 714 038 285/+254 722 753 137 Email:info@actionchildren.or.ke Kenyadirector@actionchildren.or.ke

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